A friend who is staying with us for a few days is a meditator of decades, going back to his early teachers, Muktananda and Osho (when he was Rajneesh). Now Peter is a meditation teacher in his own right and is here in Australia from the States to run a course called Spiritual Awakenings.

Today he was describing to me how he has for many years found comfort in the quiet and deepest part of his soul, in preference to the ‘outside’ world, which he has viewed as illusory.

I was interested in his comments in view of the journey I’ve made in studying Patanjali’s Sutra over the last month. I was particularly fascinated because of a shift that Peter has made in favour of engaging more at this time with the outer world.

What he described to me was a process he’s been in that has him be in the space of not-knowing, not-assuming, and not-resisting. In a sense what has happened for him, I think, is a dissolution of the duality of inner and outer.

The reality we normally experience in daily life is illusory, but it’s not something from which to escape. Rather, we can engage with life from a deeper place than from our thoughts, sentiments and emotions.

The outer world can be so mesmerising, whether we are attracted or repulsed by it, or hang out in an emotion somewhere in between. Patanjali encourages us to cultivate an inner life so we can have a viewing platform from which to see how much we want to involve ourselves in worldly affairs. But most of all, going within lets us find our home in the clear light of the spiritual experience.

Citerapratisankramayastadakarapattau svabbhuddisamvedanam

When the mind is not turned outward, it reflects consciousness itself.*

*The Essence of Yoga – Reflections on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, translation and commentary by Bernard Bouanchaud..